It’s known as the Castle of Care, or simply “the castle.”
Sanford Children’s Hospital does have its own turrets, towers and banners. In fact, every aspect of the hospital is built for improving the health of children, beginning with the castle-like exterior and interior.
Open since 2009 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Sanford Children’s Hospital is the region’s only freestanding children’s hospital. It provides 146 beds to care for children, complete with private family suites in the Boekelheide Neonatal Intensive Care Unit – the region’s only Level IV NICU.
Joseph Segeleon, M.D., leads Sanford Children’s as chief medical officer and a longtime specialist in the pediatric intensive care unit.
“The comforting environment, combined with all of these advancements, makes Sanford Children’s Hospital the most effective, compassionate and comprehensive source of care for children and their families in the region,” said Dr. Segeleon.
Healing environment for kids
Scientific studies show children heal faster and go home sooner when they are cared for in a healing environment.
From the moment they arrive at the Castle of Care, children and their families find themselves immersed in a magical healing environment based upon the story from “The Legend of Sanford Castle,” a fairy tale written especially for the facility.
A coloring book artistically designed to represent the five lands of the fairy tale guides children through the castle’s five levels. All of the murals, paintings, treasure boxes and tapestries were crafted by local artists and children and are displayed in the hallways, ceilings and individual rooms within the castle. Ceiling tiles created by patients adorn the ceilings within patient rooms.
Even medical equipment is designed to provide comfort to children, such as the mobile radiology unit that looks like a fire engine as it travels from room to room. The medical equipment within patient rooms can be hidden behind cabinets to minimize a child’s fear.
Families of patients have their own personal sleeping area in their child’s room.
Additionally, each floor of the hospital includes a Family Center, complete with internet access, kitchenette, showers and laundry facilities, so families can focus on caring for their children.
Cobey DeSchepper was diagnosed with leukemia at 4 years old. He spent almost three years in and out of cancer treatment at Sanford Children’s, but his mom will never forget the first day.
“Everyone was cool and calm,” said Allison DeSchepper. “When I walked in the room, I saw there were toys on the bed, there’s puzzles, there were games to play. You instantly feel at ease. It’s like we knew it was going to be OK.”
At age 10, Cobey was named the 2021 Sanford Children’s Hospital Ambassador. During that experience, he got to tell other people about his cancer and how he and his Sanford providers helped him overcome it.
“They’re like heroes because they make kids feel better,” Cobey said. “They’re funny and caring and they help a lot. Being a doctor is a really important job because they help so many people.”
Pediatric specialists on site
Sanford Children’s uses a team approach in caring for children, from pediatric specialty physicians in 35 different areas, to specially trained pediatric nurses, therapists, social workers, child life specialists and more. Pediatric specialties at Sanford Children’s are:
- Primary care pediatrics
- Child abuse and neglect
- Child and adolescent psychiatry
- Child and adolescent psychology
- Clinical pharmacy
- Developmental pediatrics
- Ear, nose and throat
- Emergency medicine
- Hematology and oncology
- Hospital medicine
- Infectious disease
- Intensive care
- Neonatal intensive care
- Perinatal medicine
- Ophthalmology and optometry
- Orthopedic surgery
- Palliative medicine
- Sleep medicine
On-site child life specialists work with children and their families through play therapy to help them understand and cope with their medical issues. A hospital-based school program includes a teacher who works with schools so patients and their siblings can remain current with schoolwork and instruction.
NICU, PICU and flight teams
The Sanford Boekelheide NICU is a Level IV inpatient, neonatal critical care unit. Sanford offers specialized services such as ECMO, CRRT and whole-body cooling for acutely ill infants so they can stay close to home. Our neonatal physicians, advanced practice providers and nurses are always on-site, and are supported by pharmacists, nutritionists and therapists specifically trained in the care of sick and premature infants.
Two specially trained flight teams provide exceptional care for our pediatric patients. The PICU flight team is the only unit in the region that cares specifically for children from 28 days old to 14 years old in trauma cases and up to 17 years of age for medical cases.
For those younger than 28 days, we have a specially trained neonatal flight team to handle care and transport. We provide expert care to pediatric patients in need of transport for a large geographical area in South Dakota and its surrounding states.
Among the hospital’s many innovations, the Miller Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) has state-of-the-art equipment that allows access to patients from all angles. This minimizes risk of injury from movement and also allows staff immediate access to the child.
Children in the PICU have access to ECMO services and dialysis for pediatric kidney care.
All 35 pediatric specialties are readily available to care for children who are in the hospital and have access to the latest technology and equipment, including video EEG monitoring and the region’s only EOS services providing low-dose X-rays for children.
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